With August coming quick, we are working our way down our list of places we would like to go that are only open seasonally. Yesterday, we invited some friends to join us for a trip to Pymatuning Deer Park. Petting zoos, wild animal parks, and zoos are not just great fun, they are also a chance to sneak in some learning! Below you will find three ways that you can use places like this to encourage learning fun, but first, a quick review of Pymatuning Deer Park.
**We are not being paid for this review nor were we asked to give it. We simply enjoy giving reviews from time to time of places our family visits**
Pymatuning Deer Park is small, but does have a lot to do! There are a wide variety of animals! The park has come a long way since the early 90’s with the size and condition of their animal enclosures. The money they’ve put into it really shows. The price is $10 for adults and $8 for children. There are also several extras, such as a train, horse riding, and a bird barn. While we didn’t find it costly for our small family, trips with large families may get just a little expensive. We thought it was an overall good value for admission but decided not to do the extras because the kids were having so much fun just enjoying the park. The park is handicap accessible, but there are a lot of hills, so pushing a manual chair could be a little bit of a workout. Both children that we had with us, and the adults, had a great time. Seeing the joy on their little faces when we walked into the park was well worth the trip.
With all this fun, it might feel hard to add it some learning, but it definitely is not! Here are some ways that you can easily making places like this a learning experience as well.
Pre or Post Visit Activities
One of our favorite ways to build up to or wind down from a visit to a fun place is with themed crafts or activities. Some of our favorite we have done recently that relate to animals are the Paper Flamingo, the Paper Giraffe, and the Crab Craft. We also found some awesome crafts and activities from other great websites! Check out this Toile Paper Roll Goat from Farm Wife Crafts or this Llama Craft from I Heart Craft Things.
Encourage New Language Skills
It doesn’t matter if you have a toddler or a child who is reading, they are likely to encounter new words at an animal park or zoo. If you have a toddler, say the name of each animal out load and encourage them to repeat it. Our daughter can currently say goat and dog. We work on slowly saying the names as we visit animals. If you have a reader or pre-reader, encourage them to read the signs next to the enclosures. Some of the animals names are even hard for most adults, but others will be easy and fun.
Your children are probably the ones normally asking questions, but now its your turn! Depending on the age of your child it can be a simple question like “what does the pig say?” or if you have an older child you can ask “where do you think this animal lives in the wild?”. You can also work on descriptive words by working together to describe animals you got to pet.
We hope our suggestions are helpful for future fun trips to an animal park or zoo. Please feel free to leave some fun learning tips of your own below!